Where did the idea for Juno come from?
Ally: In the middle of 2018, I was going through a lot of stress at work. I was Head of Marketing at a tech startup, and I was also working through bereavement and personal issues. I remember sitting and thinking how work was really affecting my personal life, and the general symbiotic relationship between the two. If one is going poorly, the other suffers. This sparked a wider thought of how companies try to relieve the tension between the two – normally through half-hearted 8am yoga classes, or mindfulness meditation sandwiched between meetings!
It suddenly became clear that there was a gulf between what people want and what people need – and companies are simply out of touch. They were doing their best, but that just wasn’t enough. This is when I realised that there was a gap and I could build something to fill it. For me, it wasn’t just about having an idea, it was the idea having me; I became possessed by building Juno.
So, I decided to quit my job in early 2019 and started working as a waiter in a restaurant in Earls Court: making coffee 6 days a week, and creating Juno at night. I always say to people that the only way you know that you’re truly passionate about building something (and should found your own company) is if you are willing to scrape burnt food off the bottom of a pan and work gruelling hours to make it happen. And I certainly was! Despite building a MVP with tin resources, there was a positive reaction to Juno when I first shopped it out, and it has just grown and grown ever since…
How do you think the relationship between employers and employees has shifted over the last year, and how is Juno managing that change?
Ally: The pandemic didn’t invent anything – the pandemic has just fast forwarded the workplace revolution a decade ahead. It was inevitable that we were going to be more remote and people would start to see the inequality of power that exists between employers and employees. Since staff are no longer surrounded by the ‘all seeing’ eye of the boss, companies have realised the true definition of autonomy in the workplace: it is giving respect and care, and a truly human element.
This is what Juno helps facilitate. Employers are more receptive now to what employees want, and the true versatility of work-life balance. We provide a range of benefits that employees can choose from, and truly open up the options.
So maybe you are the person who wants to do 8am yoga class. Or you’re the person who wants to get beers delivered to your door on a monthly basis. We are trying to cater for the diverse needs of employees.
More importantly than this, we are moving with the seismic shift to take mental health more seriously, in and out of working hours. This is integrated into all of our offerings.
Why do you think ‘perks’ is a dirty word?
Ally: We need to move away from thinking about perks and focus more on care – move to employee experience, as opposed to buying them off with nice benefits.
Ultimately, the perception of self care needs to change. I think there is a chasm between what it actually is, and what people think it is. I want our offering to be aspirational – but also relevant and meaningful to everyone that uses it.
We have noticed over the past few months that our food boxes are the most popular; people want fresh food delivered to their door, and this correlates with the trend of people being more conscious about what they are putting into their bodies.
What is the aspiration for Juno?
Ally: Our goal is to show employers that they can create human workplaces and redefine how their work is done. We would ideally like to be used in all major companies, providing value and meaning to what wellbeing looks like.
Juno is an effective medium to provide value to employees, and thereby the companies they work for. We are able to provide meaningful support, without breaking the bank.
We view ourselves as a self-care fund that organisations can invest in, and see the return in their employee satisfaction.